R E F L E C T I O N.
I absolutely love the Israelites and the Old Testament! I find that we can understand so much more of God’s faithfulness when we see how he continually called them back from idolatry.
As I read through Exodus, I cannot help but resonate with them as they crossed the Red Sea, a dramatic entry into their identity as a people. Yet, soon after they left the glamour of such pristine providence they found themselves in the midst of a wilderness. They came face-to-face with fear, need, doubt, temptation, discouragement, and the feeling of abandonment.
This is a blog series is about Israel and about me. It’s about the thrill of change and the cold wind of transition. But mostly it is about a God who is there whether we feel him or not. I invite you to journey with me as I journey with them and find my story so undoubtedly interwoven with theirs.
- graduated college
- worked at a summer camp in MO
- left for three months to Nicaragua
- moved back home
- gotten a new job (a potential career path!)
- and also endured a major spiritual upheaval (no really)
Now that I actually have the time to stop and think back on this past year, I realize that my college graduation was like my Red Sea experience. I was so excited that seventeen years of schooling actually amounted to something tangible. Throughout my years in college, I saw the Lord work in incredible ways. I continually saw that what I was sowing had value. Here was the place that those around would recognize what I had accomplished.
I did not realize that I was walking into a wilderness.
I found myself catapulted into obscurity, both metaphorically and physically as I spent much of my summer close to the Arkansas border at an amazing camp that felt like a foreign country for a California girl like me.
I soon realized that service would be what my next six months would look like. Unrelenting service with very subtle progression, little praise, and broken Hallelujahs.
I moved into my time in Nicaragua with my heart a bit more chiseled, and old hurts beginning to resurface. And there I wandered.
At times, I know I was more like the Israelites than Moses, or Joshua, or Caleb. I’m positive that I doubted God. As he brought me from places of slavery into what it means to be a daughter, I can guarantee that I desired the old chains. Just as the Israelites desired something tangible to worship, I also accused “Lord, I don’t see you in my midst.”
But just as the Lord drew the Israelites back to himself and continually destroyed their unbelief, in my heart he responded with, “Tell me a time when I wasn’t faithful.”
If the Lord loves us, truly loves us, he must lead us to the wilderness from time to time. However, that does not mean that he won’t lead us through the wilderness. He will certainly be our pillar of fire and cloud as we wander. It certainly won’t be aimless as he removes the places of glory so that he is able to work on our hearts.
If the Israelites only knew that as they wandered the desert the Lord was ridding them of their disbelief so that they could take the Promised Land. If they only knew that a lack of immediacy did not equal absence. If they only knew that he was establishing their ceremonies and traditions so that they would be more than just a people called by name, but one that walks in deed also.
If only they knew that the Sea is defining, but the wilderness is shaping.
If only we would believe that God is faithful, even when life seems like it is in complete chaos.
Reflect on his goodness. Cling to his goodness.
-A World Changer
“And the people bowed their heads and worshipped.”–Exodus 12:27